By buying an index fund, you can roughly match the market return with ease. But if you buy good businesses at attractive prices, your portfolio returns could exceed the average market return. Just take a look at Hallenstein Glasson Holdings Limited (NZSE:HLG), which is up 82%, over three years, soundly beating the market return of 29% (not including dividends). However, more recent returns haven't been as impressive as that, with the stock returning just 11% in the last year , including dividends .
While the efficient markets hypothesis continues to be taught by some, it has been proven that markets are over-reactive dynamic systems, and investors are not always rational. One imperfect but simple way to consider how the market perception of a company has shifted is to compare the change in the earnings per share (EPS) with the share price movement.
Hallenstein Glasson Holdings was able to grow its EPS at 17% per year over three years, sending the share price higher. In comparison, the 22% per year gain in the share price outpaces the EPS growth. This indicates that the market is feeling more optimistic on the stock, after the last few years of progress. It is quite common to see investors become enamoured with a business, after a few years of solid progress.
The graphic below depicts how EPS has changed over time (unveil the exact values by clicking on the image).
This free interactive report on Hallenstein Glasson Holdings' earnings, revenue and cash flow is a great place to start, if you want to investigate the stock further.
What About Dividends?
When looking at investment returns, it is important to consider the difference between total shareholder return (TSR) and share price return. The TSR is a return calculation that accounts for the value of cash dividends (assuming that any dividend received was reinvested) and the calculated value of any discounted capital raisings and spin-offs. Arguably, the TSR gives a more comprehensive picture of the return generated by a stock. As it happens, Hallenstein Glasson Holdings' TSR for the last 3 years was 145%, which exceeds the share price return mentioned earlier. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!
A Different Perspective
Hallenstein Glasson Holdings provided a TSR of 11% over the last twelve months. But that was short of the market average. If we look back over five years, the returns are even better, coming in at 22% per year for five years. Maybe the share price is just taking a breather while the business executes on its growth strategy. I find it very interesting to look at share price over the long term as a proxy for business performance. But to truly gain insight, we need to consider other information, too. For example, we've discovered 1 warning sign for Hallenstein Glasson Holdings that you should be aware of before investing here.
If you like to buy stocks alongside management, then you might just love this free list of companies. (Hint: insiders have been buying them).
Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on NZ exchanges.
This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.
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